Memories of Tomorrow **1/2
Directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi
"Memories of Tomorrow" is the second film in a month dealing with the disease of Alzheimer's-the first being "Away from Her." Now "Away from Her" dealt with the same topic in a tender and loving way, and all I could think about while watching "Memories of Tomorrow" was some kind of shoddy made for television movie. Not to say that the film does not tug at the heart, but it is done in a less convincing and less realistic way from the other film. Ken Watanabe is a fine actor, and probably single handily saves this from being complete trash. Watanabe plays Masayuki Saeki, a businessman living in Japan whose trip to the doctor informs him that he has an early onset of Alzheimer's disease. Saeki ends up loosing his job, and as his memory fades his wife does everything she can to make sure he can live a normal life-including making signs and labels on everything around the house. But Saeki still has problems-has feelings that his wife is cheating on him and then forgets that notion later, and is constantly upset at himself for doing this to her. This leads to a third act that is somewhat improbable, and finds the easy way out. "Memories of Tomorrow" is by default a sad film, by the subject matter alone, but I could not care for the characters as much as in "Away from Her." The script makes everybody one dimensional, there are some montages set to pop American tunes that were distracting, and the last twenty minutes became somewhat strenuous. Watanabe is worth seeing, and it's nice to see him play something more contemporary as opposed to the period pieces I am used to seeing him in. He should get more work, and as an Oscar nominee I am shocked that he does not.